Assistant Coach - Hurdles
Lauren Smith comes to West Point after two seasons at The Academy of Art University, the 2013 Division II NCAA women's indoor and outdoor track champions. The 2004 University of Houston graduate served as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for the Urban Knights track and field and cross country programs. Smith primarily advised the sprinters, jumpers, hurdlers and relay squads at AAU.
Smith helped guide Vashti Thomas during the 2013 championship season as Thomas claimed a pair of national titles during the indoor campaign, taking first place in both the long jump and 200-meter dash. On the men's side, Johnny Carter swept the triple jump and long jump titles en route to a team finish just outside of the top 10.
The 2013 season was AAU's first opportunity to compete in the NCAA Division II postseason, having established its athletic program in 2008.
AAU became the first program in NCAA history to win two national championships during its first year of postseason eligibility after capturing the women's outdoor title as well. Thomas repeated as long jump champion, while adding a gold medal in the 100-meter hurdles as well.
Smith is an accomplished athlete herself ranging from success in high school to international competition. The New Jersey native who attended high school in Texas was a 5A State Champion at Langham Creek High School in the 100-meter hurdles before becoming a four-year member and team captain of the University of Houston track program. While with the Cougars, the sprinter and hurdler earned multiple Conference USA crowns and garnered USA Junior All-America plaudits. Smith, who served as a volunteer coach at Houston for two seasons following graduation, continues to compete on a national and international level as a representative of the USA Track and Field team, having qualified for the USA Championships and Olympic Trials.
"As soon as I met Lauren, I knew she was the right person for the job," said Army head coach Troy Engle. "I obviously knew of her athletic career and had followed her success as a coach at the Academy of Art; it's not often you see a coach and two of her athletes all toe the line at the National Championships. But what really won me over was her positive, out-going nature and keen, immediate appreciation of West Point. She will make us a better staff and a better team; I know that her enthusiasm will be infectious. She has been a gracious champion everywhere she has been - as an athlete and as a coach. She made our search process very easy."